Update (11/20/2018): Quincy Kofi Swatson canceled an event planned for Tuesday, Nov. 20, to formally launch his campaign against Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Darlene Harris. He said he has “no comment at this time” when asked for information on his decision to cancel the event and if the cancellation means he is reconsidering his candidacy.
Pittsburgh City Council hopeful Quincy Kofi Swatson has been accused of assaulting a woman and engaging in non-consensual sex, according to a September court document.
Swatson announced this week his plan to seek the City Council District 1 seat, opposing longtime City Councilwoman Darlene Harris in the May primary.
Two months ago, the woman made the accusation against Swatson, 27, in a petition to Allegheny County court for a protection-from-abuse order. The order is a civil document and is not an indication that criminal charges have or will be filed.
Swatson was previously accused of choking a different woman in 2014, according to another petition for protection from abuse, which was granted at the time. The petition references a 2012 incident in which she said Swatson was arrested after allegedly throwing her out of a car. In an emailed statement, Swatson said these accusations were withdrawn. When reached by phone, the woman confirmed that she dismissed all related matters.
The September accusation is an ongoing matter. The woman did not comment.
Swatson wrote that he has “never assaulted or abused anyone sexually, emotionally, or otherwise.”
“The [most recent] accuser has made separate allegations against me of a similar nature in the past — and recanted them, in writing. Her new accusation is similarly false,” said Swatson, adding that he is exploring legal options.
Swatson said the accusations found in court documents are a “malicious attack” on his character.
"I believe it is of the utmost importance that we believe victims of sexual assault and misconduct," Swatson wrote. "False accusations are a tiny minority, and as a rule I believe survivors."
PublicSource is not naming the women as alleged victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Swatson plans to officially announce his candidacy Nov. 20 at Arnold’s Tea in the North Side. He has said he would focus on issues of equity and affordable housing as a council member.
In 2013, Swatson founded The Door Campaign, a Pittsburgh nonprofit focused on youth education. He is a rising star in the local nonprofit world and was recently selected by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP as a 40 Under 40 honoree and by the Pittsburgh Business Times as a winner of the publication’s 30 Under 30 award.
In the September petition for a temporary protection-from-abuse order [PFA], Swatson is accused of forcing sex and striking a woman after asking her for a ride home. Judge Hugh McGough issued a temporary PFA on Sept. 20.
The woman, who was previously in a consensual relationship with Swatson, wrote in her petition that he had asked her to come inside to chat briefly on Sept. 15. She did, according to the document, and said that he hugged her as she tried to leave, backed her up to his couch and “began to engage in sexual acts.” The woman wrote that she asked him to stop and “told him no.”
She describes Swatson as choking her during penetration, slapping her and pulling her hair, according to the document. She wrote that he had never turned violent previously, though in the petition, she describes a “pattern” of him forcing himself on her before.
After again asking him to stop and trying to leave, she wrote that he penetrated her again.
The woman reported the incident to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, according to the document. According to her petition, she sought medical treatment.
A call and email to Pittsburgh police seeking information on the incident was not returned.
Jeffrey Benzing is a PublicSource reporter and assistant editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-515-0062 or on Twitter @jabenzing. He can be reached securely at PGP: bit.ly/2Au8Ca9.